1999 Mazda RX-7Enlarge Photo
While there have been plenty of reports on the potential return of a rotary-powered sports car at Mazda, the latest has got to be the most ambitious yet. Motoring claims Mazda could launch not one but two rotary sports cars within the next several years, giving the automaker a three-tiered sports car lineup (when you include the MX-5 Miata) that could rival similar sports car lineups talked about by the likes of Honda, Nissan and Toyota.
The Australian publication is reporting that Mazda’s recent record profit ($1.88 billion for the year ending March 31, 2014) will be used to boost R&D spending, presumably in the area of sports car development.
In just a couple of weeks we’ll see the covers come off the all-new 2016 MX-5 Miata, and this will reportedly be followed by a new RX-7 in 2017. The date is important as it marks the 50th anniversary of the Mazda Cosmo Sport, Mazda’s first rotary-powered car and the first volume production car to feature such an engine.
Then, in 2020, with all eyes on Japan for the Tokyo Olympic Games, Mazda will reportedly launch a new RX-9 halo sports car. The year is also a significant one for Mazda as it marks the automaker’s centenary.
"This is a very fantastic idea, 2017, [for] a new rotary," Mazda global sales and marketing chief Yasuhiro Aoyama told Motoring when quizzed about the possibility of a new rotary sports car arriving in 2017. "We celebrate the anniversary of rotary in 2017—then 2020 is the Olympics in Tokyo and the 100th anniversary of Mazda."
No details about the new sports cars were revealed, although the flexibility of the 2016 MX-5 Miata’s new SkyActiv chassis is mentioned. The last we heard, the new RX-7 would be powered by Mazda’s still-in-development 16X rotary engine and produce around 300 horsepower. The same engine has also been tipped for the RX-9 but with output boosted further by an electrically-driven turbocharger. Hybrid technology is also said to be a possibility for the RX-9, allowing it to keep up in the technology front with new hybrid sports cars from rival brands.